Competitor or Colleague?

Ares Face to FaceI was at a networking meeting this morning and the topic of discussion was competition and how you think about and deal with your business competition.

As a Coach, I don’t think of other Coaches as my competitors. Even if they are offering the same type of coaching, perhaps they’re even focusing on my particular niche, it doesn’t matter. People who hire the other Coach are doing so because for whatever reason that Coach is a better fit for them. It could simply be that their personalities are better suited to work together. Or maybe they have had similar life experiences. Those people who hire me will do so because we’re a good fit for one another.

Let’s face it, unless the product or service you’re offering isn’t offered by anyone else, anywhere in the world what people are really buying is YOU. People want to do business with those people and businesses that they like, feel they know and trust.

I’m no different than anyone else when it comes to this issue and it doesn’t just apply to entrepreneurs and smaller businesses. On the level of national corporations it’s the same. It used to be that I only patronized a certain home improvement store. Then it got where when I went into that store I felt abandoned because it was so hard to find anyone that worked there and if I did find an employee, they either didn’t know the answer or their customer service skills were in need of improvement. So I started going to the other major home improvement store. The customer service was wonderful and I didn’t feel like I was an annoyance when I asked questions. Now the only time I go to the other home improvement store is if they’re having a sale on something I need and I can’t get it at my regular store.

When your business is smaller and you deal with your clients/customers on a more personal level you have more control over the way your company is perceived. You are the face and the personality of your company. If someone hires me instead of you, it’s nothing against you and vice versa. If someone hires you instead of me, it’s most likely because they feel they have a better connection with you.

Just imagine how boring things would be if we were all alike.

How do you deal with those businesses that are in your same line of work? Do you look upon them as stealing your customers? Or do you view them as colleagues?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

3 thoughts on “Competitor or Colleague?

  1. Kyria

    I feel that other people in my space as colleagues. In past careers I didn’t have this view so this is something very different for me.

  2. Lorraine

    I dealt with that whole competition perspective years ago. To me that is scarcity thinking. There is plenty for everyone and opportunities for creative collaboration as well. Information and services are not new. The “how” we all do what we do is what makes the flavor of our skills and gifts unique.

  3. Diana

    I agree. Great post. Most of my competition are good friends too. We respect each other and often refer clients to each other. I love the friendly atmosphere and feel you get so much more accomplished that way. I think potential clients can feel it too. When they see us all getting alone it has a positive vibe. Thanks!


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